Issue/Record Refunds

[For Admins + Billing Only Role] Learn how to issue online refunds and record offline refunds

Sabrina avatar
Written by Sabrina
Updated over a week ago

Refunds can be issued or recorded through brightwheel whenever the need arises - whether a student leaves the program early, a deposit needs to be returned, or if a payer unintentionally overpaid a student's account balance by a meaningful amount.

  • An online refund will return funds to the payer for an amount previously paid, on the original payment method, as long as it's within 85 days of the original payment.

  • An offline refund can be recorded in brightwheel for recording-keeping purposes and reporting, but should be issued through other means such as a physical check, Venmo, etc.


Issue a Credit

Ultimately, deciding to issue a refund or a credit is up to the program and the payer. Credits can be easily added to the account and will reduce the balance owed by a payer on a future invoice. Credits are automatically applied to the next invoice that is created but can be manually applied elsewhere as needed.

🚩 It's important to note that you cannot refund a standalone credit that was issued by an administrator. A standalone credit reduces the account balance; you can only issue a refund from an online payment or an offline payment.

💡 Learn more about Credits!


Issue an Online Refund

Refunds can be issued for online payments once the payment has fully processed, and up to 85 days after the payment was made. There are no additional processing fees associated with a refund and any processing fees charged at the time of payment are not refunded to the party that paid the processing fee (payer or school)

🚩 Please be aware that if issuing a partial refund, you will need to customize the Refund amount field. If you do not, the full payment amount will be refunded to the payer.

  1. Navigate to the applicable student's billing profile

    💡 Open the Billing page from the sidebar, jump to the Students tab, and select the student's name!

  2. Locate the applicable payment to refund by following either of these steps:

    1. On the Current activity tab, open the Available credits & payments tab

    2. On the All transactions tab, open the Credits & payments tab

  3. Click the Actions drop-down menu next to the payment that needs to be refunded, and select Refund

  4. Input the Refund amount
    🚩 If issuing a partial refund, customize this field. If you do not, the full payment amount will be refunded to the payer.

  5. Select the Refund method

  6. Select the Reason

  7. Input any optional Notes

  8. Click Refund payment

  9. Review the popup that may display stating that issuing the refund will remove the payment from the most recent invoice first. If the invoice is marked as paid, it may be re-opened.

  10. Click Yes, refund to continue

ℹ️ Once refunded, payers will be automatically notified of the refund being processed. Please be aware that it can take up to 10 business days for the funds to return to the payer's account.


Record an Offline Refund

Offline refunds can be issued at any time, and allow administrators to record cash or check funds to payers. This is a great option for returning funds that were originally paid through cash, check, or a third-party system; or for refunding an online payment that is greater than 85 days old.

  1. Navigate to the applicable student's billing profile

    💡 Open the Billing page from the sidebar, jump to the Students tab, and select the student's name!

  2. Open the All transactions tab and then the Credits & payments tab

  3. Click the Actions drop-down menu next to the payment that needs to be refunded, and select Refund

  4. Input the Refund amount

  5. Select the Refund method

  6. Select the Reason

  7. Input any optional Notes

  8. Uncheck or leave the box checked for Notify payer about this change depending on what's preferred

  9. Click Refund payment

  10. Review the popup that may display stating that issuing the refund will remove the payment from the most recent invoice first. If the invoice is marked as paid, it may be re-opened.

  11. Click Yes, refund to continue

Once you've tracked the offline refund in brightwheel, follow up by providing the cash or check refund to the payer directly outside of brightwheel.

🚩 Recording an offline refund in brightwheel will not send or mail funds to payers


FAQ

Why don't I see the option to issue a refund?

If the payment status column indicates that a payment is Pending, you will not see the option to issue a refund until the payment has been fully processed by the payer's bank.

Card payments are processed instantly, but ACH payments can take 5-7 business days to process depending on the payer's bank.

After issuing a refund, the invoice was reopened and/or is past due. How can I correct this?

If the refunded payment was applied to a paid invoice, the balance that was covered by the payment will be added back as a due balance on the student's account. This is because the invoice is no longer in a paid status after the refund was issued. If the account should not have a balance after issuing the refund, you can reduce the charge or void the invoice completely.

What happens if a payer says their bank account was closed after I issued an online refund?

Online refunds can take 5-10 business days to process, depending on the payer's bank. If you believe there is a possibility that a refund will fail, please reach out to our Support Team by emailing support@mybrightwheel.com so we can investigate the issue for you.

How do I edit or adjust an offline refund that was recorded in brightwheel?

An offline refund cannot be edited or adjusted once it has been recorded. As a workaround, you can consider logging an offline payment for the amount that was originally refunded. Then, record the correct offline refund against the new offline payment.

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